Sweet Stuff at the Farmers Markets

July 24, 2015

I’m addicted to Seattle Farmers Markets. Besides the meat and produce being way better than what you find in the grocery store, there are lots of cocktail-making opportunities and PLENTY of desserts. What’s not to love? Recently I’ve been market hopping in order to try every micro ice creamery, of which there are many. Let’s start with Half Pint.

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The flavors are fun, and tend towards the fruity. I fully enjoyed the vanilla and blueberry pints I bought (they go great with a fruity dessert, or just with some fresh fruit). The owner is from New England so you know she knows her ice cream! You can find Half Pint at the U-District Market, along with several other smaller markets. Next up was Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company, which has been around for years and makes not only excellent ice cream but these gourmet Klondike-type bars:

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Lots of flavors of ice cream are available in these chocolate packages, and I got the peanut butter flavor because nothing says “chocolate, I love you” like peanut butter. And indeed it was love at first bite. The bars are available at the Wallingford Market along with several others, and also at some grocery stores (including, I was excited to find out, Madison Market). You can also buy the pints at some locations. Try ’em out while the sun lasts!

 

ETG

July 20, 2015

I feel like I know almost every bakery in Seattle, so when I stumble accidentally across an amazing spot like ETG I’m always (happily) caught off-guard. This delightful, thimble-size bakery/coffeehouse in Fremont has been there since 1982, although the bakery component is more recent. As one might expect from a coffeeshop that’s survived 30+ years in Seattle, the espresso is excellent. But the baked goods were also surprisingly high-quality – I could tell just by looking.

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But just to be certain, I got the chocolate banana bread and the cinnamon bun, both recommended (with good reason) by the barista. Banana bread was good, but the cinnamon bun was what really blew me away. Yeasty, fresh, just the proper amount of sweetness and icing, this was truly a delight. If you’re in Fremont (and sooner or later you must be, since it’s the center of the universe), check out ETG.

Brown Sugar Baking Company

July 13, 2015

I’m mostly a gluten-full, dairy-and-nut-lover, but I was excited to try Brown Sugar Baking Company a couple weekends ago at the Columbia City Farmer’s Market. I was impressed at how many baked goods these folks are able to make vegan and gluten-free – not easy with cookies, cakes, and pies!

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I was happy with my first choice, a mixed berry gallete. While it was certainly different from the butter & flour versions I’m used to, I would say it was still pretty good. It was neither gummy or powdery and was the right amount of sweetness. I was a little less enthused about the cookie, probably because I’ve been eating so many flour-full cookies lately and this one tasted a little strange.

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I’m thinking a chocolate chip cookie without eggs, butter, and especially flour is just a different beast altogether, and this is probably one of the better ones out there. So, while vegan/gluten-free isn’t really my lifestyle, I’d recommend this bakery to anyone looking for an allergen-free dessert!

Rodeo Donut

June 24, 2015

Doughnuts have always been one of my (many) guilty food pleasures – growing up, my dad would treat me to a doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts every Sunday. I decided to treat myself a couple Sundays ago to a more gourmet treat of the fried dough persuasion a doughnut from the Cupcake Royale “pop-up” Rodeo Donut. I love Cupcake Royale – not only do they do excellent cupcakes and ice cream, now they do craft, small batch doughnuts even non-hipsters can love. Because what’s not to like about a whiskey maple bacon doughnut??

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I’ve had less-awesome versions of bacon desserts – the bacon is mushy or the proportions are off. This one was just right – bacon was the correct texture and lended flavor without being gimmicky. Perfect if you love the sweet and salty combo… or the doughnut bacon combo. For something a little different, I got the Rodeo Queen:

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This was a filled doughnut, the inside being their homemade blueberry jam. The doughnut had a lovely, bright lemon flavor that livened up the blueberry filling. These people know their way around a doughnut… I’ll be back for more flavors (go different days for different kinds of doughnuts).

We All Scream…

June 18, 2015

I now count 5 ice cream parlors in walking distance to my Cap Hill apartment: Bluebird, Molly Moon’s, Cupcake Royale, Old School Frozen Custard and now Kurt Farm Shop. I’ve had their cheese before – OMG YUM – so I was pretty psyched when they opened a dairy stand in the new Chophouse Row site. They do the cow raising themselves (no, not in Cap Hill – the farm is on Vashon) and the ice cream is pretty unique in both flavors and texture. I got a scoop of the chocolate and a scoop of the salted plum to eat together.

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The flavors played nicely together but the chocolate was the real standout (I sampled a few other flavors as well). Rich, but strangely not very creamy, this had a deep chocolate flavor. Next time I’ll probably try it with the strawberry, but in any case that’s going to be my go-to flavor.

Speaking of micro-ice-creameries, I was lucky to come across Balleywood Creamery, usually found at the Ballard Farmer’s Market. The owner happened to be stationed on 15th Ave in Cap Hill for a day, and I happened to be walking down the street wanting ice cream (not an unusual state of affairs for me).

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The owner was super friendly and I was intrigued by the flavor combinations that featured more savory ingredients  – case in point, the strawberry ice cream was chock full of basil, balsamic, and black pepper (and far better than the Molly Moon’s balsamic strawberry flavor).

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I also bought the coconut milk lime flavor because if it’s vegan it must be healthy… right? It was amazing, as were all the flavors. I wish this little cart would catch some buzz, because it’s way under-hyped and just… really really good.

 

Portage Bay Cafe

June 10, 2015

I’ve always had a weakness for dessert for breakfast. Also dessert for lunch, or even dessert for dinner, but breakfast holds a special place in my heart. At Portage Bay, it’s easy to do. The berry bar, the pancakes, the French Toast… all are worth the calories. The huge number of calories. But I figure, if you’re going to overeat, make it count, so I got the Bananas Foster French Toast.

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This classic New Orleans dish is made with rum caramel sauce (at Portage Bay they use Seattle’s own Sun Liquor rum). Portage Bay’s French Toast is made with their homemade Challah (yessss please!) and a super eggy batter. Overall, extremely decadent and tasty. Also, possibly the best thing I’ve eaten so far this year. Portage Bay is crowded for a reason… believe the hype.

Seattle Biscuit Company

June 4, 2015

In my quest to eat pretty much every biscuit in Seattle, I made a special effort to track down the Seattle Biscuit Company food truck. I was pleased to find it Saturday morning in the Central District at Chuck’s Hop Shop (which, by the way, has excellent beer and food trucks along with a pleasant little patio). Not to be confused with Biscuit Box, which I wrote about in a previous entry, the Biscuit Company is proud of “hand-building” their biscuits and using locally sourced ingredients.

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The menu was mostly savory (and intriguing – I’d love to try the Che biscuit, with bacon, egg, cheese, ham, pickles, apple butter, and mustard) but there were a couple sweet options. The one that caught my eye: The Hickey Dewberry – just bacon and a generous helping of homemade jelly.

imageI loved the combo of sweet and savory – the jelly was the perfect counter to the salty, and perfectly crispy, bacon. In fact, the homemade jelly was my favorite part of the whole concoction – bright and intensely flavorful, sweet but with no shades of Smuckers. As for the biscuit, it was well-crafted and had good flavor. I did wish for a bit more flaky-ness and a crackly exterior, but overall it gets the thumbs up.

Adrienne’s Cakes and Pies

May 30, 2015

The U-District Farmers Market is one of my favorite foodie activities in Seattle, and I was excited to see how many new dessert vendors they’ve added. I restricted myself to just one on this last visit, but I’ll be back to try the others. I chose Adrienne’s Cakes and Pies because the fresh rhubarb won’t be around forever, and I can’t say no to strawberry rhubarb pie.

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There was a decent selection of mini-pies and cupcakes, and I chose two of each. (Side note: the best thing about mini-pies is the high crust-to-filling ratio.)  For my cupcakes I picked the samoa and chocolate:

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The samoa cupcake didn’t do it for me (a little bland) but the chocolate cupcake was excellent (especially the cake part) and the pie was on point. But the winner was actually the mixed berry pie:

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I loved the crust of both pies, but the mixed berry had the right amount of sweetness and an incredibly bright taste.  Adrienne’s doesn’t have a storefront, but makes appearances at several farmers markets (including West Seattle and Columbia City). Check the website for details and then check them out!

Cheeky Cafe

May 24, 2015

Waiting in line for brunch is the thing most likely to make me hangry so I was pleased at the number of open tables at the Cheeky Cafe in the Central District Sunday at noon. This friendly little cafe has a pretty interesting menu – you can get a Hawaiian breakfast of loco moco or spam and eggs, or do the more traditional American breakfasts. I got a “Cheeky Cake” which is basically a giant pancake with the filling of your choice – I went with sliced bananas:

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Yes, yes, yes! Perfect start to my day, and I loved that I could just get a single one to avoid the total food coma that would have come with a full order. Their other pancake fillers were intriguing, especially the green tea… I’ll have to come back and try them all. Nothing beats dessert for breakfast.

Uptown Espresso

May 24, 2015

I stopped by the Uptown Espresso location in Belltown because I was in the area and needed a pick-me-up, but I was pleasantly surprised to see an array of baked goods made at their Queen Anne location. I went with some favorites (one banana bread, which is a favorite snack of mine) and a peanut butter cookie (the barista’s favorite).

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I’d say the barista was spot-on with his cookie recommendation. The cookie was not mushy or crackly crunchy, but was in between. Tender but textured with excellent flavor. The banana bread was good as well, but the cookie was the one worth returning for.


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